Why you should eat more veggies

Submitted by Jeremy on Mon, 10/30/2017 - 00:09

We have asserted ourselves at the top of the food chain. After millennia of fighting for our species's survival, it has never before been this easy to provide for ourselves come dinner time. But thinking back to our days in the caves, were we really all that successful in bringing home a sabertooth tiger or wooly mammoth for dinner every single day? Certainly there had to be a backup plan if the group of hunters occasionally went days without killing anything. There was, and that plan included the women, children, and grandparents who maintained small garden plots and gathered fruits, berries and nuts.

4 reasons to eat more veggies:

1. Try something new: With the ability to source our food from any corner of the planet, why stick with the same-old? Humans are creative, resourceful and intuitive. Cooking just to survive is one thing. Cooking with a purpose is another. Be bold, take chances, and learn from trial and error. Find ways in which you can rock your kitchen here.

2. Grow your own: Stressed? Therapeutic horticulture is the practice of gardening that is facilitated by a a trained therapist to achieve specific treatment goals. It's no secret that gardening at your own pace can be a very relaxing way to reduce stress, and there is a whole scientific community dedicated to mental health via gardening!

3. Not your father's climate: The number of humans living on this planet went from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 6 billion in 2000. The methods to feed these people still haven't changed much in 100 years. According to a study done by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock farming alone currently requires 3.433 hectares (13,254 sq miles), or 26% of Earth's land surface. Moreover, the emissions generated from gases released by improper management of the soil, feed stock supplies, and from respiration by the organisms themselves contributes to more than 18% of the total human carbon emissions. How can we feed all of these people without running out of room? By more efficiently farming our food and consuming our food smarter, we can distance ourselves from the climate-intensive methods of the past and move into finding solutions for the future. 

4. Protein: In order to be determined a "man's man" you need to eat lots of protein, right? If you're not drinking beer by an open gas grill loaded with chicken breasts and rib eye steaks, then your name might as well be Sally.

Indeed, many body functions require protein, but exactly how much on a daily basis? Before worrying about maintaining muscle mass, let's first focus on the cardiovascular system. To keep cholesterol clear from building up in blood vessels, it is necessary to avoid excessive fats. Wouldn't it be nice if there was another source that you could get adequate protein without fearing your next check-up at the doctors office?

According to a 2015 article from the Harvard Medical School, protein should be at least 10% of the daily diet. A simple equation to determine your Recommended Daily Allowance of protein is as follows:
-Weight(lbs) x .36 = RDA
There are other factors to take into account when determining protein requirements such as age, gender, and activity level.

 Someone who weighs 150lbs would in theory need only 54 grams of protein on a daily basis. 54 grams may sound like a lot, but when you can find protein in so many different kinds of foods, it becomes easier to imagine how eating more vegetables can provide for all of the human body's dietary needs, including protein. Take a look at the table below, assembled to illustrate vegetable-based sources of protein (all values derived from USDA database) and think of how you could get to 54g in one day. 

If you were to have 6 oz of greek yogurt (17g) and 1/2 cup of tree nuts (14g) for breakfast, and for lunch you had a burrito with a 1/2 cup of beans (8g), by dinnertime you would only need potatoes (15g) for dinner to meet the recommended daily allowance of protein. But just having potatoes for dinner would not make sense. The body needs so many other vitamins and minerals to be healthy! 

Cholesterol buildup can cause heart attacks, but you knew that already. Smaller blood vessels much like that of the human penis are often the first in the body to experience a decline in blood flow leading to erectile dysfunction -which by the way isn't very manly, Sally.

The simple solution: self-preservation through education. Making adjustments to the diet toward what the human body actually needs will undoubtedly improve the quality and longevity of its life.